Tag Archives: creativity

How to make a rustic clay plaque

How to are two words that I live by. I love to learn new art techniques, and I love to share my knowledge. I published a new YouTube video this morning on how to make a rustic clay plaque with cute embellishments. See picture below. You can check out the video HERE.

May was a very productive month for me, and I spent most days in the studio. It has gotten midsummer hot already in Florida so I like to stay in the air-conditioned house.

Here are a few examples of my art in May:

There are many more, but I don’t want to upload all of them since some look mostly the same.

Do you struggle with creator’s block? I find that picking up a new type of art expression or taking art classes helps to kickstart your inspiration. Sometimes I get too many ideas and it’s hard to choose what to pursue next. I had difficulties with motivation earlier this spring, but after spending hours on Pinterest and re-taking some old online classes, I was ready to go again. Sometimes you have to regenerate by not making art, and that’s ok. We think it’s the ultimate virtue (by society’s standards) to always be super productive.

Trust in your ability to rest and renew your creative well. All goes in cycles! I say: enjoy every facet of your life!! 🙂

Many of the items above are available in my etsy shop: EarthandFaery

I also took up a challenging crocheting project, a blanket, the Fruit Garden design by Janie Crow. You can find the book on Amazon. Here’s a picture from the book.

So far I’m enjoying the challenge, but it’s not easy. I know I will finish it, but it’s going to take a long time. Taking up a new hobby helps with art inspiration as well.

Have a wonderful June! I wish you lots of creative energy. 🙂

Lots of love,

Fear of failure

Fear of failure anyone? I have experienced a lot of resistance lately as I’ve been stretching myself to create more complicated sculptures. I have always enjoyed making them, but if I make too many of the same style, I get bored. I have been wanting to make more Santos cage dolls, and I found some interesting “stands/cages” at a thrift store. They were probably part of wall sconces in the past, but I could see their potential.

Possibly a wall sconce in its prior incarnation

I used one of them for the first cage doll. To make them look a bit less modern, I wrapped and glued all the parts with sewing pattern paper.

Anything to make the process easier (than making a cage from scratch.) If you’re handy with wood and nails, go for the traditional cage. There are videos on YouTube.

The hardest part is to visualize the doll on top of the stand. I went for a longer dress but, traditionally, the cage is the “skirt.”

I use epoxy clay (Apoxie Sculpt brand) for these sculptures because it’s very strong.

The resistance/fear shows up questioning if the sculpture will be any good. Will I come up with a design I like? What if I waste all that pricey clay and have to scrap the project?

The doubting imp is always lurking on the outskirts of my mind. I am well-versed in the Fear of Failure! 🙂 There’s always uncertainty when you start a new project, especially if you have never made it before. They say that fear is the only thing that stops us from moving down untrodden paths. BUT, they also say that if you can visualize the project, it’s already done.

Fear of failure project

The choice is: do I go into the studio and start (or continue what I started?) Or… do I clean the fridge? There are always dirty areas to clean in the home.

The fear wins out often enough, and lately, I’ve had a very clean house, haha.

But, ultimately, the sculpture won’t go away, so I surrender to the process wherever it wants to take me. More often than not, the end result is okay, and if it isn’t, the sculpture can be used in another project. (Hope springs eternal…)

I have many ugly parts that I repurposed or took apart for elements for other projects.

The silver lining is: I learned something during the process that I can apply to future projects.

The more I listen to the urge to create “no matter what”, the more insights and experience I gather, and that’s priceless!

I leave the fridge cleanup for another day. That will always be there, but the exciting inspiration breeze from the muse fades away if I don’t use it.

Fear and resistance will never go away, but we can choose not to listen to them!

Uglee hands

I’m okay with this sculpture, but I need to work on fixing the hands and the hearts. One thing about Apoxie Sculpt, it is super soft when you mix the two parts together. I let it sit for about an hour before I use it, but then you have to work quickly. The good thing is you can build on top of the clay without a problem. I also have to attach another heart, and work on the one that “collapsed.” I will add another heart on top, and no one will be the wiser. 🙂

Have a wonderful, creative week.

Lots of love,

Maria

If you want to learn how to make one of these polymer clay sculptures, visit my Whimsy Girl workshop HERE.

New year, new inspiration, still old me

New year, can you believe it? We begin with a bang thinking that this year will be different. We’re going to shed all bad habits, take up good ones and finally break through THAT resistance, and vanquish all procrastination.

I have news, we are still who we were on December 31, but I can see the lure of a fresh year ahead. I entered the Goodreads reading challenge to read 55 books this year. I read a lot so I will probably make it, but maybe that is the optimism of a new year speaking? We shall see…

I did start the year with a creative bang, so at least I have that going for me. Art is in my blood, and the more art I make, the more anchored the “habit” gets. It is a good, nourishing habit!

Make art get into your blood! Take a daring step to incorporating an art habit into your daily life this year. It’s amazingly rewarding. If you are reading this blog, you are an artist. This year, give your art a great deal of love and attention. It will make you so happy.

Here are some things I made in January. These figures are elves /nature spirits / fairies, whatever you want to call them.

I made some floral paintings as well, and a funky bird. You can check out these items in my etsy shop Earth and Faery.

I have a gift for you! Yesterday I made a how-to YouTube video on painting a funky floral like the one above.

YouTube video link

One of my most popular YT videos is the on how to make a spirit doll. You can easily make one and stuff some intentions and affirmations into it. I write them down on pieces of paper, and with the focus on my intentions, I incorporate them into the doll. So much fun! Check out that VIDEO here.

For art journaling or plain writing journaling, I have a simple tutorial on how to make your own journal. All you need is willingness, some art supplies like watercolor paper and a few paints, and some string or embroidery floss. Check that blog post HERE.

I’d love to hear what you’re working on or what difficulties you have with making art into a consistent practice. Leave a comment below or write to me at maria@mariagreene.org.

Have the best year ever, and lots of love and glitter sprinkles! 🙂

Maria

Art-Making begets more art-making

Art-making is a great way to grow a backbone of art! People say to me, “I don’t know how to begin” or “I don’t have any ideas, but I WANT to make art.” It’s contradictory in a way since what they want to do is immediately negated by an excuse.

I have written a lot about it in the past, but a reminder is always welcome.

I make art because I decided to

Art-making is not like a 9-5 job where you show up and put in your contribution and then go home. Art-making is something you have to grow so that it can support you when things look bleak.

It’s like anything: to lose weight, you decide to go on a diet. To learn a new language, you decide to take a course. That decision is the only thing keeping you away from what you want.

That is, if you REALLY want to make art. Somehow it’s a pastime that is relegated to not-very-important hobby. That is belief that stops many in their tracks.

Not everyone has to start an art biz, but the pleasure of creation is robbed from you if you don’t heed the urge to create. As you walk down the path littered by many failed paintings and other art efforts, you gain a rich momentum and a rich inner experience.

That’s where the vein of gold lies, you getting deeper into your own mystery. Your art becomes more fulfilling and sends out a deeper message. There is confidence and surety.

Art-making is a worthy endeavor!

When life in heavy, when things don’t go well, you can find solace in your own art. I know that deeply.

I made a video on how to make a cover out of a brown bag for a cheap composition book. That was wonderful fun! I will use the book as my current idea, planner, inspiration source.

I love to use old scrap paper, pieces of sentences, advertising flyers, etcetera. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but I have collected lots of paper ephemera over the years. Enjoy!

We’re almost into September, my birthday month, yay. Celebrate every day as if it’s your birthday, because it is. We are reborn every day, and each offers new opportunities for creativity, in life and art.

Some old inspirational blog posts:

Inspiration, where is it?

No inspiration, no problem…

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. Check out my etsy shop for gift ideas. I’ve been selling a lot, and every item is a one-of-a-kind so it will never be exactly replicated. 🙂 Earth and Faery.

Creativity in these dark times

Creativity comes in many forms as in art, crafts, inspired thinking, problem solving, seeing the big picture and implementing the vision. There’s more, but I’m focusing on art / crafts as you know.

In these times it’s easy to get into bad habits, over-eating for comfort, watching too much television, lacking exercise, you name it. It’s like comfort food. It makes you feel comforted for a while, but your stomach might not like the addition. We seldom question these things, and we ignore our feelings and insights.

It’s human nature, of course, but to create something sustainable in whatever field, you have to apply yourself. If you don’t do what you know you want to do, you’re going to feel bad. We’ve all be there, but we don’t want to stay there.

When I was young, I procrastinated like crazy, but over time, I have developed much better habits. We want to perform well, be it at a job, or in front of the easel. My dad used to say, “if there’s something you have to do that you hate, do it immediately.” I so get what he meant. When I procrastinate, I have to THINK about the problem all the time. If I tackle it, the pain will be over quickly!

To do that, we have to set up some kind of framework. I have goal setting of sorts. I have to list things in my Etsy shop all the time to keep things fresh, so four days out of seven, I have to create something and list it.

For the most part, it works, and I have made a pact with myself to stick to the plan. Another commitment is to make something for the PFATT marketplace every month, and it can’t be a small insignificant thing. So I have to make at least two quality items, preferably four. Between Etsy and that, and two blog posts, and a newsletter, my hands are full!

But I love it!

Here’s a fun challenge

What do you love the most right now in your art practice (or other?)

List a few things you’d love to try, and then rank them. Concentrate on the top two and make a plan on how to manifest them. It could involve getting some art supplies, take a class, clean your art room.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with bullet lists. I use one loosely. Each week I make a list of everything I want to accomplish and then cross them off as I go. No hard and fast rules, but I do refer to that piece of paper to keep myself accountable.

If we have bad habits we’re not honoring ourselves.

You might not be able to break a bad habit easily, but ADD some good habits and set some artistic goals. One week is a good time frame, and as you get better at it, make a schedule for a month. I promise, you will feel so accomplished and uplifted, and more self-confident.

If we all were good self-motivators, we would be doing the things we love all the time. 🙂 I would love to hear from you how you’re using creativity to keep yourself upbeat in these times. You can write to me at maria@mariagreene.org.

I get a lot of questions about procrastination. I have written many posts in the past that deal with that and fear.

Procrastination is an ugly beast.

Fear is not your friend.

The point is to take small steps in the right direction and stick to it. Anything worth doing, like art, takes time and dedication, and the rewards are great!

I have been a bit busy, but not as busy as I’d like, haha.

I made a Halloween owl for the PFATT marketplace, and a monster doll that I might offer there or on Etsy.

On my work table
Mr. Halloween owl.

I don’t have a name for the owl yet. Any suggestions?

Monster doll eyes in the making.
Creativity and experimentation.

I have always loved the monster dolls on Pinterest, so I decided to try one of my own. So much fun! Sewing is not my favorite thing, but I like to mix things up. Pinterest is a great place to get ideas!

I painted and made another clay figure, and the month isn’t over yet, so who knows what comes next?

It seems I used blue a lot in my latest creations… These six items are now available in my Etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Keep your vibe high! 🙂 Do what you love, at least fit it in between chores and work. It’s really important.

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. TIP: keep a small journal and a pouch of pens in your purse and doodle when you’re waiting at appointments, school pick ups, and having a coffee at Starbuck’s! Where there’s a will there’s a way.

Whimsical art house tutorial

Whimsical art and “funky boho colorful display” you can call these houses that are so much fun to make!

I wrote a picture tutorial on how to make them. It’s fun and easy! Here’s one:

Whimsical art house tutorial.
whimsical art house

You can buy the wooden house shape at Michael’s or online. They are cheap and easy to alter. Since I was going to cover everything with paper, I Mod-Podged the surfaces to seal them before I attached paper scraps.

Paper scraps attached, art house tutorial.
Paper scraps attached

Here the papers are dry. I covered the edges as well. You can glue the paper down and then cut the excess along the edges with sharp scissors.

All surfaces covered, art house tutorial.
All surfaces covered.

Below, I wiped acrylic paints over the surfaces, one pink one lavender.

I painted the door shapes, and in the image after that you can see the windows added. I used charcoal to outline the shapes in a primitive style.

Windows and doors, art house tutorial.
Windows and doors added with paint and charcoal.

To seal the charcoal, which can be messy if not sealed, I used a spray varnish. It’s best to spray them outside because the fumes are wicked. I let the houses dry outside as well.

Drilled holes, art house tutorial
Drilled holes for birds

I then drilled the holes for the tiny birds I’d made as an embellishment on the roof. Whimsical touch… 🙂

Whimsical birds for the house roofs, tutorial.
Whimsical birds for the house roofs

I painted the houses the same colors on the back as on the front. The edges got a contrasting color.

Jazzed up the front with banners, art house tutorial.
Jazzed up the front with banners

When I make polymer clay tiles for my mosaics, I usually make some extra cut-outs. I use cookie cutters for these shapes, bake them, and paint them. They make cute banners! I also glued some flowers at the bottom on the pink house. I varnished the back and the edges with gloss varnish. The shine brings out the colors nicely.

Finished houses, art tutorial
Finished houses!
Birds glued to the edges, art house tutorial
Birds on the edges

I used super glue to attach the steel wire to the birds and the houses. They will stay in for a long time! 🙂

Below is another example of a green house.

Finished art house, art tutorial
Finished art house

Now I have to make more stars and pennants. I used them all in these projects.

Wood shapes are great because you can make so much with them. If you read my blog you know I like to combine wood and polymer clay. One of my most cherished sellers is the angel with a message.

Angel with a message
Angel with a message

What gets your imagination going?

I get my inspiration from actually making stuff. One thing leads to another, new ideas pop up as I’m in the middle of the process. Most of them are good ideas that can be realized without too much pain. I also get inspiration from other artists on Instagram and Pinterest.

Don’t let fear stop you from experimenting. The figure below is my latest experimentation. I have a hard time sculpting faces, but I decided to use a face mold that I proceeded to alter. However, I keep working on my skills; it’s the only way to master a new technique.

Bettina, the circus acrobat on her day off

I wish you lots of inspiration! Try something new today. 🙂

Lots of love,

Maria